A businessman who wanted to help get his three disabled children working has now employed 19 special needs workers in just eight months with 20 more people on the waiting list for his business the Cookie Project.
Auckland man Graeme Haddon started the Cookie Project in June, alongside his business partner Eric Chuah, which has now turned into an online website just in time for Christmas.
Mr Haddon says he was unsure what his children were going to do for employment in the future but they’re enjoying working life at the bakery.
Accessibility Tech programme leader, Tania Colvin, says all the bakers are learning important life skills which can help them find other jobs in the future.
“They have so much fun if they want to continue working here that’s great but they’re also learning all these valuable skills that are transferable to other employers,” says Ms Colvin.
Brad Grannal does multiple roles at Project Cookie from baking to packing the cookies and says he’s loving working for the company.
“The best job I ever have, last week we got 200 orders, 200 cookies to cook,” says Mr Grannal.
Mr Grannal says there aren’t a lot of jobs for people with special needs but feels he’s in a good working environment around others with disabilities.
Once a week Laura Blow spends time with her sister Emily at Project Cookie.
“It absolutely warms my heart, seeing her have a job and have a future is amazing,” says Emily Blow.
With Christmas just next week these bakers have been hard at working making thousands of cookies and finishing off their final batches.